Review Blog

Jun 27 2017

101 collective nouns by Jennifer Cossins

cover image

Lothian, 2017. ISBN 9780734417978
(Age: Primary) Recommended. Language. Collective nouns. A list of animals and their collective nouns in alphabetical order from aardvarks to zebras, is given an entrancing backdrop of endearing illustrations by Cossins. Lists of these nouns appear now and again, and sometimes the phrase is used in a book but to see them altogether is stunning. Children will see the humour behind some of the words given for a group of animals, and be intrigued to try and work out just why that word is used. In her introduction, Cossins tells us that collective nouns have their derivation in onomatopoiea, or describe behaviour or habitat, but of course, some do not fall neatly into these divisions.
Children will be able to discuss why a word may be used, and perhaps suggest some of their own descriptive nouns, as she tells us that Australian animals are quite often referred to as a 'mob'.
Several took my interest. Those using onomatopoiea as a collective noun include a flamboyance of flamingo and a parcel of penguins, while those describing behaviour include, a siege of cranes and a paddle of platypus, while some reflect their habitat as in a caravan of camel and a rookery of albatross. Many do not fit these divisions and it would be fun to try to work out just why that noun has been given, so reiterating the parts of speech with a class.
I enjoyed it greatly.
Fran Knight

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